Investing in a musical career is not only about setting aside the time to practise, but of course, there is also the instrument investment.

Buying a guitar is an important step and when it comes to the best guitar for beginners, there are a few tips that can help make the decision.

Regardless of whether it’s an acoustic guitar, electric guitar, folk, base or any other kind of guitar, guitars for sale can be costly and as you are bound to find out in the music shop, there are also accessories, like an essential guitar strap that complete the purchase.

Once you have factored in the cost of guitar picks or a guitar strap, for instance, your total purchase price can look a bit different. You’ll also need a guitar tuner, bag, spare guitar strings and perhaps even an amplifier.

These costs are important but are often last in the queue when it comes to keeping up with daily expenses.

This doesn’t mean that your dream of buying a guitar is not possible. Guitar price can vary depending on the level of the player’s expertise. You could actually find the best guitar for beginners without breaking the bank. Whether it’s a Gibson, Telecaster, Yamaha or Fender, there is actually so much choice.

What Is an Affordable Guitar?

Are you wondering what the difference is between an affordable and expensive guitar? The best way to answer this question is start by comparing prices.

Interestingly whether it’s a music shop, specialised guitar shop or online purchase, market prices are generally the same.

The difference lies in the advice, service and guarantees that you could get in a music shop. The average price of classical guitars for beginners in South Africa can range anywhere from R500 to R1900 in South Africa. You could use an online shop like as a reliable place to start comparing prices.

The best guide to your guitar price is your level of expertise and the best guitar for beginners is an entry level guitar. You never know, as you progress in your ability, you could be striding into a guitar shop one day to buy a guitar pick or a guitar strap and end up walking out with an instrument for a professional.

Average prices for acoustic and electric guitars are also extremely varied with online platforms like quoting prices that range from under R2 000 right up to almost R12 000. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s the best guitar for beginners.

Often guitars come with a package of accessories, so find out if there are any added extras to make sure you get the best deal.

One of the things that determine guitar price is the quality of the fingerboard. This is when the intonation and fret configuration are better set up. Better quality guitars also come with quality guitar pickups, preamp, and a more composed guitar body.

selection of guitars displayed on wall and ceiling
It is possible to find a good guitar at a reasonable price. (Source: Unsplash)

Before you walk into a guitar shop or look online for guitars for sale, ask yourself how serious you are about learning to play the guitar and whether you want your instrument to last a lifetime. It’s these things that will guide your guitar price.

Remember to add things like guitar picks, a guitar strap, and a bag onto your guitar price. In a music shop or specialised guitar shop there are actually packages that include accessories

Looking online for guitars for sale can be very handy but in reality, guitar shops are actually great places for aspiring musicians to hang out. A music shop would also stock essential items like guitar picks, scorebooks and tablatures.

You could also pick up a new guitar strap. And most stores actually offer lessons for different guitar playing styles whether it’s French, jazz, flamenco, folk, pop or hard rock.

In fact, buying a guitar in a guitar shop can open so many doors to your musical career.

The shop assistants in a music shop are trained to answer your questions and be of service which makes them a great place to be when looking for the best guitar for beginners.

Don’t forget that you will need an extra set of strings before you leave the guitar shop – whether these are nylon or steel. You will be able to replace these on your own and doing so will definitely ensure the quality and acoustics of your instrument.

If you are still considering learning how to play the guitar, read up as much as you can. Finally, when you are budgeting, don’t forget to factor in the cost of guitar lessons!

How to Choose the Right Type of Guitar

So you’ve decided to go ahead and invest in buying a guitar, but how do you choose the right type of guitar for you?

This is when you really need to know your guitar playing goals by asking yourself just how far you intend to take your new interest and what type of music you want to play.

It’s important to be honest with yourself and not to overestimate your level. But at the same time, don’t choose the cheapest one you can find when you have decided to really commit. This is an investment that should take time.

The best guitar for beginners is usually less expensive because there are fewer finishing touches and options. Guitars for experienced musicians are usually more sturdy as they are used more often and as such the guitar price is usually a long term investment.

assorted guitars on display
Your level of expertise is the starting point for choosing a suitable guitar. (Source: Unsplash)

If you are intending to play and perhaps sing before an audience, there is another piece of equipment you will need – an amp. Once again prices vary, but in South Africa you could pick up a brand new amp for as low as R500.

An amplifier is also useful when you choose to purchase an electric-acoustic guitar which has its own onboard microphone.

When it comes to microphones, according to the experts it is better to buy an external microphone and then install it close to the soundbox.

Always seek the advice of professionals or shop assistants in guitar shops. Your guitar tutor could also guide you to make the right decisions when it comes to buying a guitar and all the accessories that go with it.

Decide on your budget before you enter a music shop – this way you will avoid being enticed by the high-end models that are not suited to your practice. So take your time when buying a guitar and also with choosing your lessons. Don’t learn to play too quickly, it is much better to learn to play thoroughly over time.

Someone in a guitar shop will also be able to point you in the direction of music lessons.

Choosing a Guitar Online

Guitars for sale are a dime a dozen online but this should really be done with caution.  There are many instances when buying a guitar online has turned out to be a scam. Many buyers have been tricked into thinking they were buying a certain model, only to take it in for repairs later and find out that it was disguised as something it was not.

It’s important to be able to hold a guitar in your hand and know its acoustics.

When you are in a guitar shop you can easily feel whether the guitar is comfortable or not and also have the peace of mind that you have bought the real thing.

However, if you already know exactly what model you want there are a few tips to shopping online for guitars for sale.

Firstly, choose a reputable website. Check out their delivery method and find out whether your purchase will be protected with good packaging for transit. Find out whether your delivery is trackable.

collection of brightly coloured acoustic guitars
Be sure to ask the seller about the history of the guitar. (Source: Unsplash)

Also choose a site that offers a guarantee when buying a guitar. All of these things will give you peace of mind. Finally, don’t forget to read the terms and conditions.

If you are unsure about which model to choose, there are many YouTube videos that feature musicians showing different types of guitar.

Did you know that you can even tune a guitar online!

Other Places to Buy Guitars

  • Online classifieds like Gumtree
  • Neighbourhood garage sales
  • Second-hand stores

These are all great places to find a bargain purchase, just make sure that the guitar is not damaged or cracked. Be sure to look at the handle and establish that it is not warped. This can happen if a guitar has been without cords for too long because when there is no pressure exerted on the handle it can start to slacken.

Besides the appearance and price, ask about the history of the guitar and whether there are any unseen defects.

Find out if the person selling you the guitar also has guitar picks or a guitar strap.

Now your next step is finding out how to play your new guitar, there are many places to find lessons. Ask around, check out the classifieds or try an online platform like Superprof which could help you to find a tutor near to you or even offer an online tutor from anywhere in the world via webcam.

You’re on the road and who knows, maybe one day you will even be playing the guitar one-handed!

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.